Thursday, July 8, 2010
If Sweden Were Truly Neutral Wouldn’t It Use Its Unique Position To Help Free Gilad Schalit?
As the worlds third-largest contributor of aid to the Palestinians Sweden holds a unique position to put pressure on the Palestinian people. The home page of Zionit (Zionistic Federation in Sweden) currently includes an open letter and petition to Sweden’s foreign minister Carl Bildt. The letter encourages Bildt to take action against Hamas’ internationally illegal capture and imprisonment of Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit. The aim of the letter is not only to encourages Bildt but also Sweden to actively try to release Schalit who is held captive by Hamas, an organization which is defined as a terrorist group by the U.N. as well as the European Union.
Today the Schalit family’s march from their home in the north of Israel arrived in Jerusalem with hundreds of supporters—with the aim of putting pressure on Israel’s government to release thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails in exchange for Schalit’s release. Gilad Schalit has been held prisoner in the Gaza Strip for the past four years .The march ended outside the residence of Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu—who is currently in the U.S. for diplomatic talks with President Obama. Here, the demonstrators claim, they will stay until Israel’s government agrees to release thousands of Palestinians prisoners in return for soldier Schalit.
Even though all of Israel is aching to get young Schalit back to Israel, this is unfortunately not the right way to go about it. Putting pressure on the Israeli government to release prisoners is equal to caving in to the demands by a terror group. This also means that thousands prisoners will be released, many of which are dangerous to the citizens and homeland security of Israel. It also means that many soldiers, who risked their lives in order to arrest these criminal terrorists, did so for nothing. Consequently, it also conveys the message that their lives are worth less then that of one single soldier. It’s a bad equation: one Israeli soldier, who hasn’t committed any crimes, comes at the price of releasing thousands of Palestinian criminals, some of which have murdered innocent civilians, both Israelis and Palestinians as well. Even worse, successful tactics tend to be repeated; in the long run, it most probably will lead to Hamas making more frequent attempts to kidnap Israeli soldiers.
Sweden currently ranks as the third largest contributor of aid to the Palestinians; it also holds a unique position. Sweden, which claims to value international law highly, has never issued any statements condemning Hamas’ illegal imprisonment of Gilad Schalit. Zionit’s webpage (in Swedish) remarks on Schalit’s imprisonment :
“Since his capture he has been held hostage by Hamas in an unknown location, against international law. Nobody knows where he is and nobody has been allowed visits to monitor his state of health. Since his abduction four years ago he has not been accused of any crimes and nothing indicates that Hamas is seeking to try him for war crimes. Contrary to the laws of the Geneva Convention Gilad has been denied the right to keep in contact with his family and has been denied visits by the International Committee of the Red Cross. “
After the Ship to Gaza incident Sweden was one of the countries which most strongly protested the actions taken by Israel, even though it later was discovered that the most violent participants of the flotilla were there to commit jihadist acts and were hoping to die as martyrs. It again appears that Sweden—which for the last two hundred years has “spun” itself as a neutral state—cannot make that claim in this case either.
If Sweden were truly neutral, it would also condemn the illegal imprisonment of Gilad Schalit by Hamas, a terrorist organization. By reducing its millions of kronor in aid to the Palestinians, Sweden could effectively put pressure on the Palestinians to release Gilad Schalit, but Sweden will most probably not do this because Sweden, as opposed to what it would like everyone to think, is simply not neutral.